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Study Shows Why Users are Ditching Broadband for their Smartphone

A recent Pew Research Center report shows how Americans today make use of tools available to them when it comes to accessing the internet. Based on the report, more and more Americans have started to ditch using their home broadband connection. Instead of this, they prefer a more handy experience with their internet-enabled smartphone. Because of this, the use of broadband connection has seen a significant drop from 70% in 2013 to just 67% this year. While this may be a small difference, it means a big deal for the industry.

Apart from the drop of broadband connection usage, the report also shows that there has been an increase among adult users who prefer to use their smartphone devices instead of a home Wi-Fi connection. In 2013, there was only 8% of users throughout the country who preferred this option. Now, the number has risen to 13%. This change was most noticed among African Americans, those who resided in rural areas, and individuals with a relatively low household income.

While people may be ditching the use of broadband connection for mobile, it does not simply mean that this solution is a better experience. According to the report, what this results to is the fact that this is the cheaper option for individuals.

However, there are "distinct challenges" experienced with smartphone dependence. There are some setbacks experienced by those who rely on accessing the internet through a smartphone. For one thing, smartphone service plans come with a limited data cap that usually poses a problem for smartphone users. Once the data cap has been reached, users will have to either suspend or cancel their service for financial problems. Additionally, there is the hindrance of not being able to write a cover letter or fill out a job application on a smartphone. Not to mention, streaming a video or accessing a data-heavy app can be a huge headache on your data limit. With this, 37% of individuals share that without broadband connection at home, they are faced with a limit in learning new things. This number has increased from 23% in 2010.

On the plus side, a smartphone is a great tool for staying in touch with family, friends, and colleagues. With the subject of data cap limits, this is already being addressed by a number of carriers. For example, T-Mobile has started to offer two options for its subscribers. With Binge On and Music Freedom features, users get to choose exempting either video or music streaming from their data limit. Both AT&T and Verizon have also been said to be working on "sponsored data," a feature that would allow their customers to use apps without worrying about it going over their monthly data allotment.

The Pew report also discovered that 15% of adults are considered TV cord cutters. Looking at the same reason with broadband, the main issue why these individuals have ditched pay TV is price. And since they now have access to content other than pay TV, they would rather cut costs and go for online content streaming from services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, or even an over-the-air antenna. So why should they continue paying for pay TV when they could have just one bill to worry about?

Source: PCMag



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  1. I am seriously considering cutting the pay tv cord. THe only thing that keeps me paying is my love of sports. It's ridiculous that cable and internet are costing $120 a month and that is a temporary price cut.

    1. I have already cut the cord, and it's been fine... except for sports. That still hurts, but I'm getting by.

      I'm considering looking into one of those VPN or DNS services that make your connection look like it's coming from outside the county so I can get my home team baseball games played via MLB.net (that blackout policy doesn't make me happy - so far it makes it so I'm not paying money to MLB). Once I get around to putting a decent antenna on my house, I'll get the NFL games I care about for free.

      Right now I hit a dive bar to see my NFL games.

      There's no way I'm going back to paying $100 a month for cable TV. And Netflix/Hulu better keep their costs in line. Hulu is already starting to irritate me with their 'no commercial' tier. It feels like they're maybe jamming more commercials into the programs to try to push me to paying an extra $4 a month to get rid of them.

    2. Just as a warning, some content providers are starting to block the IP addresses of the major VPN providers. My BBC habit (for instance) has been curtailed by a block on VPN addresses located in the UK. MLB hasn't yet done anything similar, but it's something to watch out for.

    3. You guys need to shop. Sling TV for $20/month includes 22 channels, with espn and espn2. If your fix demands more, add Sports Extra for $5, and get: beIN Sports, ESPN Bases Loaded, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN News, ESPNU, Outside Television, SEC Network, and Univision Deportes Network.

  2. The cable companies are pricing themselves out of their market. Maybe if enough people cut their cords, the companies would learn something.

  3. Every time I try to read one of Christine's paraphrased "articles", I just scratch my head and wonder what did I just read? Was the question "Why" ever answered? I gave up and clicked the source article link where it is mentioned in the original headline (price).

    Upon further review, it's tangentially mentioned in the bottom of the third paragraph (but not in a preference context), and not made clear until the final paragraph where it is muddled in a parallel with television cutters.

    Almost every sentence begins with some sort transition phrase which makes for a really jarring read, and the conclusion is a non-sequitor (Netflix, Prime, and Hulu are all "additional" bills on top of mobile internet, which something a single TV subscription might actually simplify?). I hate to be "that guy", but is communications really her thing?

    1. Funny thing about blogs - everyone who comments thinks they are a critic.
      I like Christine's positive, upbeat news articles.
      They're more enlightening than ~90% of the comments here.

  4. I for one won't be ditching cable or broadband any time soon.

    A small phone or tablet will never replace kickin' back with a burger, turning your brain off and watching some television. You can't mount an iPhone to a wall 3 yards away and still get the same experience.

    Likewise, 1GB/mo isn't anywhere near broadband caps of 300GB or higher. It's too damn small, especially when online services are becoming more data intensive than ever before.

    The usability gap between almost unlimited wifi and cripplingly limited tethering allotments is still painfully clear even after half a decade of LTE availability.

    In reality, mobile is far from being good enough for people who use cable and internet for their specific niches. Tiny consumer electronics are only a suitable replacement if you never really used anything else in the first place.

    Anyway, this is yet another clickbaity article that fails to deliver anything of real substance. It's not a deal, offer, tidbit or opportunity of any sort. I'm not even any wiser, since it was already obvious that people who don't actually want television or internet aren't going to keep paying for it.

    Sponsored Content once again fails to impress.

  5. "The cable companies are pricing themselves out of their market. Maybe if enough people cut their cords, the companies would learn something."

    Part of it is the insane situation where he broadcast channels charge the cable companies huge fees to include the broadcast channels (if anything, the broadcasters should pay the cable companies to distribute their content to far many more "Eyeballs"). The cable companies pass on this highway robbery to the customers.

    I cut off cable, but went back to it when they offered a good deal. DirecTV and Dish are not an option because their lousy substandard equipment and tiny dishes means the picture goes out any time it rains.

    1. Thank you for pointing out an often overlooked detail.

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